Some of us have experienced times in our lives when things just seemed hopeless. Perhaps we had lost a job and of course it happened right after we came back from vacation.
If only we had known, we would have stayed home and saved that money. Or maybe, we had given our all to a project at work that we knew would catapult us to a promotion; instead it was rejected outright and there was no telling when the opportunity would present itself again, if ever.
There are those who would say that those things were not so bad, at least we were able to take a vacation; or they’d tell us to be thankful that we have a job. These same people might be suffering from a deadly disease and have no medical coverage, or they may be living on the streets homeless, not knowing from where their next meal is coming.
Comparing the degree of one person’s feeling of hopelessness to another’s is impossible and fruitless. The feeling is relative.
What can help a person begin to overcome the feeling is just a small ray of hope, like a light through a keyhole into the darkest room. To find that light, those feeling hopeless have any combination of three actions to overcome it.
1) They can try to do it on their own by identifying the cause of their problem, identifying their options, ranking the options based on perceived chance of success and then taking action; 2) they can pray to God who is “the God of the lonely, the helper of the oppressed, the support of the weak, the protector of the forsaken, the Savior of those without hope (Judith 9:11);” and/or 3) they can turn to us.Turn to us? Yes, we too, are called to be the light that will lead them out of darkness.
So just how do we do this? We first have to accept the fact that we have a responsibility to help those we see who are in physical, emotional, psychological, financial or spiritual need. After all, we are all brothers in Christ and no man is an island. Second, we must be open to helping those in need. This takes a mindset guided by the Golden Rule. We can’t be afraid that we might be asked to do or give more than we are able. Finally, we must open our hearts, minds, and sometimes our pocketbooks and be willing to give, not only money, but some things that are more precious, like understanding, caring, compassion and our time.
People don’t expect us to come into their lives and solve all of their problems. We’ll often find that just being there for someone and listening to their concerns, can give them just the amount of impetus that jump starts their move towards a new day filled with hope.
For those who need more, we can help them with options 1 and 2 above. A fresh, non-stressed perspective may help them to identify options they didn’t know were available; and praying with and for them will give them some spiritual solace that will get them through the day.
Often we never know the outcome of our efforts, but we can be sure that they are appreciated and that we will be blessed for walking a path that so many others detour around.
And if the time comes when we are in despair and there seems to be no one to bring us help, we will find comfort if we believe in Psalm 62:6 which says, “My soul, be at rest in God alone, from whom comes my hope.”